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Romania's health minister resigns amidst coronavirus spread

Romania's health minister resigns amidst coronavirus spread Source: Personal FB page

BUCHAREST (Romania), March 26 (SeeNews) - Romania's health minister Victor Costache has resigned, prime minister Ludovic Orban said on Thursday, as the country is fighting the spread of the coronavirus disease.

"I have taken note of this resignation and I will send it to president Klaus Iohannis, who will then issue the decree of relieveing. I regret his resignation, but on the other hand, I understand it and I thank him for the good cooperation," Orban said during a televised news conference, without elaborating on the reasons for Costache's resignation.

Orban said he will propose that health ministry state secretary Nelu Tataru replaced Costache. The appointment will have to be approved by Iohannis.

On Wednesday evening, Costache said told local TV station Digi 24 that all the population of capital Bucharest and of the biggest cities in the country will be tested for the new coronavirus, sparking public controversy.

Romania has confirmed a total of 906 coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, compared to 762 a day earlier. The country has so far registered 17 deaths caused by the coronavirus disease, according to health ministry data. At the same time 86 people have recovered and have been discharged from hospital.

As of Wednesday, 6,016  people were in quarantine in Romania, while the condition of 100,199 people staying at home was being monitored.

Since Wednesday, people can go out only to for work or to buy food and medicines, while citizens older than 65 years will have to stay at home all the time except between 11 a.m and 1 p.m. Also, electronic surveillance measures will be used to monitor people who are in isolation. 

On Saturday evening, the interior ministry announced that shopping malls and dental clinics will be closed and imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

The Romanian authorities declared a 30-day state of emergency on March 16 in order to be able to tackle the coronavirus disease outbreak more efficiently.

The country closed public and private schools, restaurants, bars two weeks ago.